Canadian production company set to adapt politicized version of the Lord of the Rings for the silver screen


Canadian policy-wonks and fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy have reason to celebrate. Pulp Media, an independent film studio based in Toronto, has green-lit a new twist on J.R.R. Tolkein’s much-loved fantasy series.

Director Eldrid Batista told MetaCanada that this Lord of the Rings adaptation will be saturated with Canadian political themes, and will be entirely shot on-location in Alberta using a “totally retro” Super 8 camera. “It’s less about the ring, and more about the oil sands,” he said, candidly. “The tarry darkness that fell over Middle Earth in the novels is not unlike the oil being bored out of once-pristine, desolate bogs.”

Concept art for the upcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation set in Alberta

Concept art for the upcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation set in Alberta

Existing cities will be thinly veiled as Tolkein’s mythic settlements. Calgary will be Edoras of Rohan; Edmonton, Minas Tirith; Athabasca will be Osgiliath; and Fort McMurray will fill-in for the dreaded capital of Mordor, Barad-Dur. The ruinous wasteland surrounding Fort McMurray will be re-presented as the Dead Marshes.

Batista’s team decided to take liberties with Tolkein’s arch-narrative with the intent to use the film as a vehicle for a critique of the Harper government’s alleged eco-cide in western Canada. Whereas in the novels, Frodo and his vertically challenged friends set out to find Mount Doom and destroy the “one ring of power,” in Batista’s adaptation, they’re attempting to destroy the blue prints for a mega-development that will poison the water table and the “Atahbooska River” [sic], and needlessly employ tonnes of Middle Earthlings.

“It’s important to capture the spirit of Tolkein’s classic,” said Batista, “and snuff it out. You know? Really kill it….and use the ashen remains to bring truth to power and waste arts grants to criticize tax-payers for their complicity in the current government’s destabilization of the natural order.”

To further blur the line between documentary and fiction, Batista has populated the cast with real Canadian politicians. His Casting Director, Alistair McDonald, has so-far secured: Thomas Mulcair to play the role of Gimli; Justin Trudeau to play the role of Aragorn; Stephen Harper to play the voice of Sauron; David Suzuki to play the wizard Gandalf; Rick Mercer to play the role of Gollum; and Alison Redford to play the role of Saruman. McDonald says he’s still hopeful that Mayor Nenshi and Preston Manning will get back to him regarding their availability (to play a cave troll and Tom Bombadil, respectively).

Costume design for upcoming LotR adaptation.


Costume design for upcoming LotR adaptation.

David Suzuki as Gandalf the Foggy-headed.


Mulcair as Gimli the ill-tempered dwarf.

Costume design for upcoming LotR adaptation. Rick Mercer as Gollum.

Rick Mercer as Gollum, the narcissistic homunculus.

Costume design for upcoming LotR adaptation.

Stephen Harper as the efficient leader and ruler of all evil, Sauron. 

Remarking on the actors’ suitability to their roles, McDonald was particularly proud of having cast Trudeau as Aragorn.” Aragorn is the only living descendant of a great King who’s hubris compromised Middle Earth. It’s Aragorn’s job to do what his forefather could not: take credit for the work of stronger men and not die like a god-damned pansy.”

McDonald has yet to cast anyone for the role of Samwise or Frodo. “Kathleen Wynne was a contender for Frodo, because she’s really great at destroying industrial projects and running around.” Unfortunately, Wynne has yet to respond to his request.

McDonald and Batista both were surprised but thankful when Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepted the role of Sauron. “I’m not sure Harper understands the premise of the books or what, exactly, we mean to achieve by finishing this film. He told me he respects Sauron for keeping a tight ship. ‘There’s not an unemployed Orc in sight,’ he said. ‘There’s diversity within the ranks, unity of purpose, a booming Mordorian economy…Sauron’s the one to thank.'”

Although it might be too early to say definitively, the film will likely be played in select theatres, and, after a year, will be broken into shorter segments and marketed as Heritage Moments.

The tentative release date for Batista’s Lord of the Rings is November 14, 2015. Sounds worthy of a trip outside of the Shire!